17 July 2012

A landslide closes a famous hotel in India

Posted by Dave Petley

The city of Shimla is a hillside settlement in Himachal Pradesh in northern India.  Located at an elevation of 2,205 metres above sea level. it is a historic city which is also a major tourist destination. One of the oldest and most famous hotels in the Oberoi Clarkes , constructed in 1898 in a colonial style.  The hotel has 34 rooms and employs 61 people.

Yesterday the hotel was closed indefinitely in response to an acute landslide problem.  According to news reports, the issue has been the result of the construction of a new high court building and associated roads in the vicinity of the hotel, which caused the failure of a retaining wall in May.  Hill Post has this image of the site from June this year – the hotel is the building in the background:

It appears that attempts were made to rebuild the wall, but these has proven unsuccessful.  The landslide has now reportedly retrogressed to within two metres of the hotel building, driven in part by monsoon conditions, and thus threatening the hotel, as this more recent image from The Hill Post shows: